Contemporary Quotes on 1st Amendment: American Liberty and Religion
"The principle of the separation of church and state is today widely misinterpreted to mean the exclusion of religion from public life. The Founders, to the contrary, thought a fastidious neutrality on the part of the state between denominations and faiths would strengthen the influence of faith in our culture.
It is important to recognize today that the embrace of the marginalizing view of the separation of church and state arises ultimately from the skeptical attack on all revealed religion that began, coincidentally, at the same time as the rise of liberal individualism during the Enlightenment. But the radical skepticism that first trained its sights on revealed religion was not satisfied with this target alone, and the progress of what we call 'postmodernism' has shown that radical skepticism now attacks and rejects the possibility of objective reason as well as revelation. In other words, the modern attack on religion has become equally an attack on the secular basis of our individual natural rights as the Founders understood them."
"Our nation was founded not on Christian principles but on Enlightenment ones. God only entered the picture as a very minor player, and Jesus Christ was conspicuously absent."
"America's Founding Fathers, products and admirers of the Enlightenment, realized that a nation based on individual liberty had to remove religion's power. So they established the principle--the secular principle--of separation between church and state."
"The Founders' support for blending religion and politics was based on the following syllogism: Morality is necessary for republican government; religion is necessary for morality; therefore, religion is necessary for republican government."
"The truth is that conservatives are often not the supporters of religious liberty that they claim to be. Many of their efforts would actually weaken the separation of church and state, and along with it, the religious liberty of millions of Americans. Requiring religious institutions to abide by the Constitution is not discriminating against them—nor is it discrimination to require religious institutions to balance their rights and responsibilities with those of others in a pluralistic democracy."
"When asked to name the five specific freedoms in the First Amendment, 65% of respondents could name freedom of speech, followed by 28% who could name the freedom of religion, 13% the freedom of the press, 13% the right to assemble, and 4% the right to petition. Twenty-seven percent of respondents could not list any of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment."